ELLINGTON, Nov. 23 – It was one last day to be together as a team. And the Avon High football team made the best of it. Senior All-State linebacker Jimmy Murphy scored two touchdowns, quarterback Noah Hahn threw three touchdown passes and the Falcons forced five turnovers to finish the season with a 30-13 win over Ellington/Somers.
Avon finished with an 8-3 record under first-year coach Jim Caouette — just the 10th time in school history that Avon won eight games in a single season.
The Falcons didn’t qualify for the Class L tournament but there were plenty of smiles among the Avon players and a few moist eyes as the high school football careers of 12 seniors came to an end.
“I’m just so proud of this team,” Caouette said. “To have a group like this, I’m very lucky. I liked the way we fought for 48 minutes in every game. I have a group like this is awesome.”
Avon wasn’t blown out of any game. They dropped a 16-13 decision to Canton on opening day when the Warriors scored a touchdown on the final play of the game. They nearly erased a 22-point deficit, pulling within one point of Gilbert/Northwestern with a touchdown on the final play of the game. Avon went for the win with a two-point conversion pass play but it was intercepted in the end zone for a 34-33 Gilbert win.
And no one has been closer to beating undefeated Valley Regional/Old Lyme (10-0) than Avon, which dropped a 21-18 decision in September.
“Everyone did their best. That is all you can ask for,” Murphy said.
It was Senior Day for the host Purple Knights but it was a day for the Falcons to remember. Avon took control immediately, scoring on its first three drives to take a 17-0 lead.
Hahn, who completed 10-of-19 passes for 177 yards and 3 TDs, completed a 24-yard pass to Justin Reichler (4 receptions, 71 yards) on the third play to keep the drive going. After two pass interference calls, Avon took a 7-0 lead on a seven-yard touchdown pass from Hahn to Stephen Griffin.
Ellington tried to punt after its first drive but a high snap and pressure from the Falcons forced punter Christian Rider to try and run for the first down but he was tackled for an eight-yard loss on the Ellington 20-yard line.
Four plays later, Avon senior John Burdick kicked his third field goal of the season from 32 yards out for a 10-0 lead.
Ellington gained just three yards on its possession. Avon responded with a five-play, 71-yard drive that ended with Murphy scoring on a 20-yard pass from Hahn. The big play on the drive was a 44-yard completion from Hahn to Dylan Marquis on third down and three from the Falcons 36-yard line.
Avon made it 23-0 on a eight-yard touchdown pass from Hahn to Reichler in the second quarter.
Ellington/Somers tried to make a game of it. The Purple Knights cut the lead to 23-7 midway through the third quarter when QB Joe Lesile completed a 33-yard pass to Shane McGowan and teammate Zach Luginbuhl scored on the next play from 18 yards away.
The Purple Knights recovered an onside kick and looked to be stealing the momentum. But on the next play, Christian Schneider was intercepted trying to throw a halfback option pass.
Avon responded by marching to the Ellington 5-yard line on the back of Murphy (15 rushes, 71 yards). The Falcons didn’t score but ate up the final four minutes of third quarter.
The Falcons put this game away when Murphy fell on a fumble in the end zone with 6:38 remaining. Reichler sacked Ellington QB Joe Lesile for a seven-yard loss, pushing the Knights back to the Avon 5-yard line. On the next play, a poor handoff bounced into the end zone.
Sean Del Gallo intercepted two passes for Avon while Dylan Marquis intercepted a pass at the five-yard line in the second quarter to stop a Ellington drive. Griffin and Murphy recovered fumbles for Avon.
Avon 30, Ellington/Somers 13
Avon (8-3) 17 6 0 7 — 30
Ellington/Somers (5-5) 0 0 7 6 — 13
A: Stephen Griffin 7 pass from Noah Hahn (John Burdick kick), 8:06
A: Burdick 32 FG, 3:57
A: Jimmy Murphy 36 from Hahn (Burdick kick), 0:35
A: Justin Reichler 8 pass from Hahn (pass fails), 6:14
E: Zach Luginbuhl 18 run (Ben Kloter kick), 7:43
A: Murphy recovers fumble in end zone (Burdick kick), 6:28
E: Christian Rider 5 run (kick blocked), 1:32
RUSHING: Avon – Noah Hahn 8-minus 5, Stephen Griffin 8-22, Jimmy Murphy 15-71; Ellington – Christian Rider 6-45, Zach Luginbuhl 7-35, Jeremiah Mason 4-16, Joe Lesile 7-minus 17; Christian Schneider 7-41, Mike Casciano 1-3, Mark Hickman 1-4
PASSING: Avon – Noah Hahn 10-19-0, 177; Ellington – Rider 0-1-0, Lesile 3-15-2, 52, Schneider 0-2-1, 0
RECEIVING: Avon – Justin Reichler 4-71; Stephen Griffin 1-7, Jimmy Murphy 3-33, Dylan Marquis 1-44, Luke Meaney 1-22; Ellington – Mike Casciano 1-5, Ben Kloter 1-19, Shane McGowan 1-33
RETURNS: Kickoff returns – Devin Macko (A) 1-22, Joe Lesile (E) 4-34, Mark Hickman (E) 1-68; Punt returns – Teddy Allmendinger (A) 2-0
FUMBLE RECOVERY: Shane McGowan (E), Stephen Griffin (A), Jimmy Murphy (A); INTERCEPTIONS: Dylan Marquis (A) 1-6, Sean Del Gallo (A) 2-0